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Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

Chaotic Bliss Homeschooling

Science
Buggin' Out
Category: Science
Tags: bug insect insect identification pictures of bugs insects for kids

 

For budding entomolgists and nature detectives, these free insect investigations help take the learning outside: 

Bug HuntingTop tips for conducting great bug hunts with your "little trekkers," with info on basic bug kit; where to look for bugs; basic study questions; and how to set up a trap.

Field Guides: Essential for comparing illustrations with actual crawlies and flying beasties discovered, and for learning fast facts. Here are a couple you can download for free: 

  • Orkin Guide: Has color photos and basic information on common insects, like bees, wasps, mosquitoes, flies, ants, etc. 24 pages.
  • EPA Bug Book: This more comprehensive garden guide contains pictures and information on good and bad bugs, bug control tips, homemade bugspray recipes, and plants that attract good bugs. 52 pages.

Free Online Books: 

 

 

                        

Field Studies:

Basic Insect Observation Worksheet

Build a Bug Habitat Download

Build a Model Bug Download

Cricket StudiesResources for capturing, keeping, and studying crickets, with data worksheets, ideas for experiments, and sample two-week lesson plan.

Science In Your Garden
Category: Science
Tags: science for kids garden earth science life science

If you’re looking for some hands-on activities to study earth and life science, head out to a garden. It’s a living lab that affords all kinds of opportunities to observe science concepts in the natural world, such as:

 

  • interdependence in an environment

  • life cycles and changes

  • adaptations and biodiversity

  • human impact on the environment.

While in the field, kids get a chance to be the scientists by asking questions, making observations, and coming up with explanations for what they see based on evidence. They can define problems they may encounter in a garden (eg. a plant-damaging pest), and gather additional information to brainstorm solutions.

For an idea of the kinds of investigations that can be done in a garden, visit LifeLab, a Santa Cruz-based non-profit organization that hosts field trips and summer camps at their garden classroom. Or go online to download their free garden exploration units for grades 1 - 4. Each unit - Pondering Plants, Soil Stories, Garden Pollinators, and Garden Habitats - includes six lessons.

Additional free resources available at the LifeLab site:

 

Here are some more ideas from KidsGardening, like creating a biosphere in a bottle.

 

For Middle and High School Grades

 

Nature Works Everywhere has a variety of free gardening lesson plans and videos, including, How Dirt Works, and activity guides on Habitats, Living Systems, Soil, Water, Food and Carbon, and others. These guides and others can be found on their Resources page.

 

From the Ground Up, The Science of Soil has free lesson plans and labs on a variety of soil topics including composition and nutrients; there are also free family activities for testing your soil, careers in soil science, and a garden guide.

 

Learn about diversity by tallying how many different species live in your neighborhood. 

 

”Homeschooling

Ecology and Environmental Science
Category: Science
Tags: ecology environmental science earth day

 

Free textbooks, virtual labs, interactives, and activities for building an ecology unit: 

Textbooks: If you want to use a textbook to structure your unit, check out CK-12's Intro to Ecology, with 35 sections covering ecosystems and related topics. Sections include reading, related videos and links, and online practice questions. You can easily create your own "Flexbook" with only the sections you want to cover. The Ecology chapter is part of CK-12's Life Science textbook. 

HippoCampus Environmental Science VideosInformation on Earth's atmosphere, water, geology, and ecosystems.

Exploring Planet Earth: Free online course presented in 10 modules covering Earth's systems and resources.

Click the image below for an interactive worksheet on Earth Day:

Here are some links to free resources for explaining and learning about various ecology topics through interactives, labs, assignments and activities. 

Levels of Organization: This Glencoe Virtual Lab is an investigation of how competition for natural resources affects population growth. Grow two species of Paramecium, compare growth curves, answer journal questions.

Food Chains/Webs

  • Energy Flow in Ecosystems: Shows how energy flows through a food chain between producers, consumers and decomposers. Includes a short quiz.

Predators and Prey

  • Predator-Prey Simulation: Examine predator and prey interactions, in this case, wolves and deer. Set three parameters for the predator: aggression, birth rate, and dependency upon prey as a food source. Then run a simulation to see how the populations change over time.

Symbiosis and Other Interactions:

This video on symbiosis is part of a TED-Ed lesson that includes questions and additional information. 

Nature Cycles:

  • Water Cycle: Interactive diagram with a multiple choice quiz.
  • Carbon Cycle: Travel the cycle with this interactive game. Click the "For Teachers" link for a related lesson plan and additional resources.
  • Carbon Cycle Investigation: A longer simulation activity in which sources of carbon, and human effects on the cycle are identified.
  • Nitrogen Cycle: A description of all the cycles are found here, but the one for nitrogen is an interactive diagram. (Click on page 4).

Photosynthesis and Respiration

  • Virtual Lab: A simulation investigating the effects of environmental conditions on photosynthesis.
  • Interactive Google Doc: 

Earth's Biomes:

  • Six Virtual Biomes: Description of plant and animal life in the major biomes and ecosystems.

Habitats and Ecosystems: 

  • DK Find Out: Interactive illustrations on plants and animals in different habitats. 

Biodiversity: 

  • Backyard Biodiversity: Kids search for animal life in microhabitats close to home. Involves observation, classification, and species mapping. Includes links to several citizen science projects.
  • Endangered Species Assignment: Using earthsendangered.com, create a graphic organizer comparing 4 endangered species from an area of the world.

Environmental Problems and Solutions

Energy Resources

  • Energy Story: Online book with 20 chapters you can click into to learn about different sources of energy, such as fossil fuels, natural gas, wind, hydro and solar energy, etc. Click into the teacher resources for a list of lesson plans.


Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years

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